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Hillside to start middle school

Montessori set to expand grades

Staff report

Hillside Montessori students participate in an experiment to help learn about the scientific method. Currently serving elementary aged children, the school is set to add seventh and eight grades in 2017. Students show are, from left, Brooklyn Painter, Luke Tyrer, Kenzo Sato, Noah Black, Hope Headrick and Charlotte Woody.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/05/web1_web0519Montessori01.jpgHillside Montessori students participate in an experiment to help learn about the scientific method. Currently serving elementary aged children, the school is set to add seventh and eight grades in 2017. Students show are, from left, Brooklyn Painter, Luke Tyrer, Kenzo Sato, Noah Black, Hope Headrick and Charlotte Woody.

Contributed | Hillside Montessori

Fourth through sixth graders on a two-day trip along the Civil Rights Trail stand in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. They researched the history of the civil rights movement in America, then planned the trip and raised all of the funds independently. From left are Olivia Woody, Eli Glisman, Parker Wilkie, Ryan Mahone, Emory Devane, Lucas Wilson and Tolan Bailey.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/05/web1_web0519Montessori02.jpgFourth through sixth graders on a two-day trip along the Civil Rights Trail stand in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. They researched the history of the civil rights movement in America, then planned the trip and raised all of the funds independently. From left are Olivia Woody, Eli Glisman, Parker Wilkie, Ryan Mahone, Emory Devane, Lucas Wilson and Tolan Bailey.

Contributed | Hillside Montessori

LaGRANGE — Hillside Montessori is set to add seventh and eighth grades to its academic program in the 2017-2018 school year.

“In continuing to honor our mission to help children reach their fullest potential by cultivating independence, compassion and integrity, we feel that it is essential to establish a Montessori middle school program in our community,” said school Director Bethany Headrick.

Montessori, based on the teaching method of Maria Montessori, focuses on hands-on methods of learning. Hillside Montessori was incorporated as a nonprofit by a group of local parents and teachers in 2010 and began classes in 2012, growing out of the Montessori program for pre-K to kindergarten students at First Presbyterian Church. It started with first to fourth grades and expanded to sixth the following year.

The private school’s curriculum includes traditional academic subjects integrated with practical life skills such as sustainable living, gardening and small business management. The middle school program will continue to concentrate on the emotional, intellectual, physical and social development of young adults with lessons and activities tailored to the particular needs and interests of this age group, Headrick said.

Academic lessons, developed from a classical curriculum, is aimed at motivating learners of varied backgrounds, interests and talents, she added. Teachers want to inspire students to love learning and to embrace curiosity, creativity and hard work. Small class sizes will permit teachers to find their students’ strengths and insist on their best efforts, Headrick said.

“Adolescence can sometimes be a precarious time in a child’s progression toward adulthood,” Headrick said. “It is essential that children at this age have a supportive learning environment in which they feel both safe to explore their intellectual curiosities and empowered to play an active role in their education. Such a foundation will allow students to develop strong research techniques and life skills that will carry them through college and beyond.”

The expansion to include seventh and eighth grades is one of many components of the school’s recently implemented strategic growth plan.

Applicants and interested families can make an appointment to find out more about the school by contacting Headrick at 404-661-5199. The school is located at 525 Park Ave. in the former Unity Elementary School.

Registration is now open for lower — first to third grades — and upper — fourth through sixth grades — elementary for the 2016-2017 academic year. Applications and more information may be accessed at www.hillsidemontessorilagrange.com.

Families who enroll in the current elementary programs will receive first-priority placement in the middle school class.

A press release from Hillside Montessori contributed to this report. Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.